Semana Santa

May 01, 2011 in

Semana Santa is what is for us Easter. However, as the name suggests (=Holy week), it is a much bigger thing in Central America. It is one week full of processions, other religious rituals and a tremendous stream of locals that use the opportunity to have a vacation with the family and rush to tourist locations, primarily beaches. The beaches were incredibly full during Semana Santa.
In Nicaragua, this lead to a traffic situation on the public busses that was as bad as the normal situation in Guatemala. Taxi drivers telling you “no hay autobuses” (=there are not busses) were not even really lying – all the busses were packed!

Semana Santa chaos in Rivas, Nicaragua

However, we succeeded in mostly avoiding the crowd, except for the one or the other (accidental) bump into the processions.
Just to give you a short insight: In a procession, they carry figures of Jesus (normally carrying the cross), Maria and sometimes other saints through the town into a church, where a short mass is held afterwards. A procession is accompanied by a priest, an orchestra of brass players, a cart with a diesel generator to light the figures (“wrwrwrwr…”) after dark and of course lots of people who march together with procession.

A snapshot of a procession in Flores, Guatemala. I think this is Maria.

Before the procession starts, however, the locals often create colorful “alfombras” (=carpets) out of dyed sawdust along the way of the procession. In Granada, a van with megaphones roamed through the town hours before to announce the procession.

One of the alfombras in Solola, Guatemala.